Newbie has messed everything up

SHarvey11780

Hi everyone,

I will preface this cry for help by saying I know that I did everything wrong in the beginning! I'm simultaneously kicking myself and trying to get everything straight.

Typical new fish owner fish in cycle situation-I was gifted a 10 gallon tank starter kit and took the bad advice of just setting everything up, dechlorinating the water, and getting it up to a good temp (78 degrees F). Two days later (Jan 15), I dumped in 2 dalmatian mollies, 5 neon tetras, and 2 mystery snails. I started doing some reading and realized the error of my ways pretty soon. I started daily testing with an API Master Kit, and 30-50% daily water changes (with Prime) January 24th. I do a gravel vac once weekly, and have not changed any filters, though I have knocked a little gunk off in the dirty water here and there. Fast forward over the next couple months, of course everything has died except 4 tetras, and I'm sure they're not happy.

As of 3/23/21, I was making some progress and was at pH 6.4, Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite 0.5, and Nitrates were beginning to appear at about 5. Temp has always been steady at 78 degrees. Unfortunately, my back went out really badly and I was unable to do much of anything until today besides feed them and dump Prime in there and hope no one else died.

Today, I tested and I'm at pH 6, Ammonia 2, Nitrite and Nitrate both 0. I did a large (a little over 50%) water change and just don't really know where to go from here. Any help is super appreciated!
 

Ouse

Welcome to the forum!

When cycling a tank, you are trying to build a large enough bacteria colony to keep ammonia and nitrite at 0ppm. A cycled tank will produce nitrate out of nitrite, which is produced from ammonia.

You’ll want to raise the pH level. A pH level of between seven to eight is neutral and best for the cycle. If it gets too low, the rate of which bacteria is produced will decrease, and the tank will become more acidic. To raise the pH level you can do water changes and add crushed coral pieces into the filter (I’m no expert on this part). You want to be careful with changing the water when fish-in cycling so the crushed coral solution is probably safer.

I recommend you only change the water by 30-50% once ammonia or nitrite reaches 1ppm or higher. To cut down on the production of ammonia and to allow bacteria to catch up, you can feed the fish once every other day during the cycle.
 
Upvote 0

Momgoose56

Hi everyone,

I will preface this cry for help by saying I know that I did everything wrong in the beginning! I'm simultaneously kicking myself and trying to get everything straight.

Typical new fish owner fish in cycle situation-I was gifted a 10 gallon tank starter kit and took the bad advice of just setting everything up, dechlorinating the water, and getting it up to a good temp (78 degrees F). Two days later (Jan 15), I dumped in 2 dalmatian mollies, 5 neon tetras, and 2 mystery snails. I started doing some reading and realized the error of my ways pretty soon. I started daily testing with an API Master Kit, and 30-50% daily water changes (with Prime) January 24th. I do a gravel vac once weekly, and have not changed any filters, though I have knocked a little gunk off in the dirty water here and there. Fast forward over the next couple months, of course everything has died except 4 tetras, and I'm sure they're not happy.

As of 3/23/21, I was making some progress and was at pH 6.4, Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite 0.5, and Nitrates were beginning to appear at about 5. Temp has always been steady at 78 degrees. Unfortunately, my back went out really badly and I was unable to do much of anything until today besides feed them and dump Prime in there and hope no one else died.

Today, I tested and I'm at pH 6, Ammonia 2, Nitrite and Nitrate both 0. I did a large (a little over 50%) water change and just don't really know where to go from here. Any help is super appreciated!
Crusty Dusty has great advice. So I will just add my two cents that might help too. Crusty mentioned crushed coral, YES you want your pH to come up and the gentlest way to do that is to add crushed coral or aragonite chips to your filter overflow. Get a mesh media bag from your fish store and add 1 cup of crushed coral per 30 gallons tank volume to the media bag, rinse it thoroughly, then drop it in your filter overflow. It will slowly raise your pH. You don't need to worry about your pH getting too high, the coral will stop reacting with the acidic water when the pH gets closer to 7. Your tank will cycle MUCH faster with your pH above 6.8. Other wise keep checking ammonia level at least every other day, change the water to keep the ammonia below 1.0, add Prime with every water change. You ARE nearly cycled. I think raising that pH will get you there in a couple weeks or so.
 
Upvote 0

Ouse

Crusty Dusty has great advice. So I will just add my two cents that might help too. Crusty mentioned crushed coral, YES you want your pH to come up and the gentlest way to do that is to add crushed coral or aragonite chips to your filter overflow. Get a mesh media bag from your fish store and add 1 cup of crushed coral per 30 gallons tank volume to the media bag, rinse it thoroughly, then drop it in your filter overflow. It will slowly raise your pH. You don't need to worry about your pH getting too high, the coral will stop reacting with the acidic water when the pH gets closer to 7. Your tank will cycle MUCH faster with your pH above 6.8. Other wise keep checking ammonia level at least every other day, change the water to keep the ammonia below 1.0, add Prime with every water change. You ARE nearly cycled. I think raising that pH will get you there in a couple weeks or so.
Thanks for elaborating. As I briefly mentioned I’m no expert on crushed coral. When cycling my 5 gallon I had pH issues too and I resolved this by gravel vacuuming the substrate until 60% of the water was removed.
 
Upvote 0

SHarvey11780

Crusty Dusty has great advice. So I will just add my two cents that might help too. Crusty mentioned crushed coral, YES you want your pH to come up and the gentlest way to do that is to add crushed coral or aragonite chips to your filter overflow. Get a mesh media bag from your fish store and add 1 cup of crushed coral per 30 gallons tank volume to the media bag, rinse it thoroughly, then drop it in your filter overflow. It will slowly raise your pH. You don't need to worry about your pH getting too high, the coral will stop reacting with the acidic water when the pH gets closer to 7. Your tank will cycle MUCH faster with your pH above 6.8. Other wise keep checking ammonia level at least every other day, change the water to keep the ammonia below 1.0, add Prime with every water change. You ARE nearly cycled. I think raising that pH will get you there in a couple weeks or so.
OK, I can do that! So, once my tank is cycled, do I need to keep doing the crushed coral to keep the pH up as I go forward? Thanks so much to both of you, this is really helpful.
 
Upvote 0

Ouse

OK, I can do that! So, once my tank is cycled, do I need to keep doing the crushed coral to keep the pH up as I go forward? Thanks so much to both of you, this is really helpful.
Only if the pH is still too low, which it shouldn’t be if you manage to cycle the tank. Most fish prefer a pH level between seven to eight (which is what you’re trying to achieve). There are exceptions but for now seven to eight is the ideal pH level.

Do you know what might be causing the drop in pH? Excess fish waste? Uneaten food?
 
Upvote 0

Lvmyfsh

Hi everyone,

I will preface this cry for help by saying I know that I did everything wrong in the beginning! I'm simultaneously kicking myself and trying to get everything straight.

Typical new fish owner fish in cycle situation-I was gifted a 10 gallon tank starter kit and took the bad advice of just setting everything up, dechlorinating the water, and getting it up to a good temp (78 degrees F). Two days later (Jan 15), I dumped in 2 dalmatian mollies, 5 neon tetras, and 2 mystery snails. I started doing some reading and realized the error of my ways pretty soon. I started daily testing with an API Master Kit, and 30-50% daily water changes (with Prime) January 24th. I do a gravel vac once weekly, and have not changed any filters, though I have knocked a little gunk off in the dirty water here and there. Fast forward over the next couple months, of course everything has died except 4 tetras, and I'm sure they're not happy.

As of 3/23/21, I was making some progress and was at pH 6.4, Ammonia 0.5, Nitrite 0.5, and Nitrates were beginning to appear at about 5. Temp has always been steady at 78 degrees. Unfortunately, my back went out really badly and I was unable to do much of anything until today besides feed them and dump Prime in there and hope no one else died.

Today, I tested and I'm at pH 6, Ammonia 2, Nitrite and Nitrate both 0. I did a large (a little over 50%) water change and just don't really know where to go from here. Any help is super appreciated!
I've started fresh out of the box with fish in tow home set up and all was fine it's a matter of rinsing all the new stuff out and making sure not to shock your fish add good bacteria I have had good luck with this when setting up brand new and yea you learned the hard way but all hope isn't lost this happens. What kind if fish do you have now? Just dont change to much at once water temp etc and shock em worse when you change water try to match the temp frome the tap less shock for the fish and always add something to treat the water like to remove chlorine and such. And mix it with some tank water b4 you add it to tank you dont want them to swim into a cloud of whatever your adding I've had no problem right out the box you hist gotta keep in mind there sensitive
When being rehome and such. Also when you clean the filter and all the stuff you add decor and such dont use tap water use the what we think is dirty tank water to rinse your stuff to SAVE the healthy bacteria which is what makes your tank healthier for the fish to thrive when you pull the filter donf let that gunk go back into your tank it's all bad stuff floating back anti there world I unplug and use a Turkey baster to get that water out.
 

Attachments

  • 16173650843962294391506766279143.jpg
    16173650843962294391506766279143.jpg
    137.5 KB · Views: 8
Upvote 0

SHarvey11780

Only if the pH is still too low, which it shouldn’t be if you manage to cycle the tank. Most fish prefer a pH level between seven to eight (which is what you’re trying to achieve). There are exceptions but for now seven to eight is the ideal pH level.

Do you know what might be causing the drop in pH? Excess fish waste? Uneaten food?
I really don't know. The pH of my regular tap water is right at 7 and for the most part, I've hovered around 7-7.2. Looking at my litte spreadsheet here, it looks like it started to drop right after the last snail died (3/17), so I wouldn't think it would be waste with only 4 neon tetras in there for 2 weeks, and I have kept up with the weekly gravel vacs. Maybe I am feeding them too much, I'll do the crushed coral and drop back to every other day feeding and see where I go from there.
 
Upvote 0

Ouse

I really don't know. The pH of my regular tap water is right at 7 and for the most part, I've hovered around 7-7.2. Looking at my litte spreadsheet here, it looks like it started to drop right after the last snail died (3/17), so I wouldn't think it would be waste with only 4 neon tetras in there for 2 weeks, and I have kept up with the weekly gravel vacs. Maybe I am feeding them too much, I'll do the crushed coral and drop back to every other day feeding and see where I go from there.
I blame the death of the snail and the buildup of waste. Having stock die during cycling can produce excess ammonia and acid.

Definitely feed once every other day and make sure to use the gravel vacuum to siphon out waste. We’ll go from there.
 
Upvote 0

SHarvey11780

I blame the death of the snail and the buildup of waste. Having stock die during cycling can produce excess ammonia and acid.

Definitely feed once every other day and make sure to use the gravel vacuum to siphon out waste. We’ll go from there.
That does make sense when I think back on that day...I am usually working from home every day and the tank's in my office, so anything that died came out immediately. That day I took off for St. Paddy's and was gone all day, so it likely died in the morning and I didn't pull it out until I got home that night.

Thanks again and we'll see how it goes! I am honestly not a huge fan of these tetras and would prefer to stock the tank with something different once everything gets straight, but I'll deal with that at a later date lol.
 
Upvote 0

Momgoose56

OK, I can do that! So, once my tank is cycled, do I need to keep doing the crushed coral to keep the pH up as I go forward? Thanks so much to both of you, this is really helpful.
Just leave the crushed coral in your filter overflow during your cycling. Once your tank is cycled, you can either take it out (for fish who prefer a lower pH or leave it in for fish that prefer a higher pH. If you choose to leave it in, you'd just need to add more periodically as it dissolves. Good luck!
 
Upvote 0

mattgirl

Just leave the crushed coral in your filter overflow during your cycling. Once your tank is cycled, you can either take it out (for fish who prefer a lower pH or leave it in for fish that prefer a higher pH. If you choose to leave it in, you'd just need to add more periodically as it dissolves. Good luck!
A bit of a derail here but just had to say.....I've missed you.
 
Upvote 0

Momgoose56

A bit of a derail here but just had to say.....I've missed you.
THANKS I missed YOU too!! ❤ Glad to be back "in the tank!"
 
Upvote 0

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Question
Replies
4
Views
94
FishDin
Replies
8
Views
136
Bwood22
  • Question
Replies
6
Views
108
mattgirl
  • Question
10 Gallon Tank Messed up cycle?
Replies
5
Views
164
mattgirl
Replies
8
Views
156
ZachG

Random Great Thread

New Aquarium Cycle Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom